Category Archives: career

One week in

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It’s been one week since I stopped working. My last day in the office, last Monday, was hectic. Long lunch with colleagues, but working until the very last minute, trying to wrap up and tie loose ends. I don’t like leaving unfinished business behind but there is just so much I can do too.

The first week has been quite weird. I’m still trying to figure out what to do. I wanted a break from it all, I needed some rest, I needed not to be an employee, a wife and a mother for a few days, but my mind and body are so set on auto-pilot, so conditioned to run as a machine that the much needed rest is not happening. I’ve been washing, cleaning, tidying up, trying to make up for not being “productive” and “earning a living”.

It’s funny how in my head doing all the house chores is not considered – to me – as being productive or working, when it is actually a proper job. It’s probably because I was already doing these things before, just that this time I can finish everything during the week and spare my weekends for the family. I can’t help but ask myself how I managed to do everything while I was still working full time and actually answers my on going question on why the heck I’m always so exhausted and in such a bad mood.

I must say that there is no pressure from anyone other than myself at the moment, so I’m hoping that with time, I’ll learn to take it easy and try not to kill myself with things that are not that important.

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Today is also the International Women’s Day and I received a few congratulations for it. I suppose it is good to have an international day to remind us that there is still a long way to go for women everywhere, but this is an every day battle and cannot be limited to a single date. It is a long and winding road, sometimes for each step forward there are three backwards. We conquered so much in the past years but there is still so much work to be done.

I have two daughters and I so wished I didn’t have to teach them, show them that they are as good as anyone, that they deserve respect, that they shouldn’t feel like they cannot achieve certain things because of their gender. I wish I didn’t have to tell them to cross their legs, to wear shorts under their skirts, because despite being 5 and 2, there are a bunch of sick perverts out there that are turned on by little girls and although they are the wrong ones, the ones that should be locked in a cell, society will blame the girls for not behaving themselves.

It is an every day battle and it starts at home. Both husband and I were raised in a sexist society, but we are educated adults, we understand now a lot of things that our parents and grandparents didn’t have a clue, we have access to information and we have the capacity of changing – ourselves – and influencing – our children – and fighting – against those who do not respect women (and human beings in general). Some silly examples that we face at home go from “make up is for girls only” (“no, men can wear make up, if they want to, and women don’t need to wear it if they don’t want to”) to “pink is a girls’ colour” (“no, it’s not, it’s perfectly fine to NOT like pink if you are a girl, or like pink if you are a boy, and blue is an amazing colour, as is orange, black, and any other colour that makes you happy”), to more serious ones like telling them they should always tell us/the teacher if something or someone is making them uncomfortable (the school uses the term “butterflies in the tummy” to explain that strange feeling of fear that kids my experience without knowing exactly what it is).  Part of our disagreement in our house is on career. Husband wants them to be doctors or engineers, be able to earn enough not to depend on anyone; I want them to be happy with whatever path they choose. I do think, though, that we have to encourage them for more adventurous paths – it is not expected that young girls show interest in politics, engineering, coding, etc., when this is mostly down to the fact that we raise our girls surrounded by dolls and our boys with Lego and science kits. So we both agree that we should give them the opportunity to learn everything, make it a fun experience, avoid any negative remarks and let them figure out for themselves what they like and want to develop. Education is one of the most important things that we can offer them and giving them the same opportunities as any other kid – boy or girl – will be the best influence in their careers we can hope for.

We learned from Laura’s teacher that she is a “natural leader”. I read that one big mistake that parents (grandparents, family, etc) can make is calling a kid with strong leadership a “bossy” child, especially when it’s a girl. A leader has ideas, has charisma, has vision. I’m not saying that my 5 years old has all these qualities (I think she has, though), but I also don’t want to reduce her to an annoying kid telling others what to do. And I won’t reduce her very good friends to a bunch of sheepish kids that just follow her where she takes them without thinking for themselves. I do hope that we can encourage her to be adventurous, creative, vocal and kind and respectful towards others, as well as not being shy to express herself and show leadership if this is where she sees herself.

I have chosen to become a stay at home mother to be with them during this early age, to be there for them and to learn from them. To be able to see any signs, good or bad, that I can act upon. I don’t want them to think that this is a burden or a lack of choice or, worse, something that only women should do. It was a choice, an opportunity, which unfortunately not everyone can have. They’ve seen me working full time and they will see me working again. I do think it is important for them to see both their parents working, helping at home and raising them – this is a partnership and as a wider message, it’s about working together for a greater good.

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International Women’s Day is not about congratulating women on Facebook and sending flowers to the woman of your life. It is about equal opportunities and respect to your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife, you neighbour, your cleaner, your nanny, your teacher, your colleague. It’s about making this damn twisted world a slightly better and safer place for us all. So simple in theory…

While Beatrice fights not to sleep…

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… I decided to check how things are going with this blog. Practically dead and I feel sorry for it.

Many months without posting and mainly because I wasn’t inspired at all. 2015 was a “meh” year for me. The folks in Lala-land will probably argue that I should be grateful for my health and for my family and for everyone being healthy and under a roof and… the list of “good things to be grateful for” goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I am.

But comparing to other years, 2015 was “meh”. Probably mainly my fault.

Now… 2015 ends with a twist. Because a “meh” year cannot end up “meh”, otherwise what’s the point? So, 2015 was the year I resigned my 4-years-old-job. Without another job to go to. I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I’m not worried (yet). I can go to another similar job, I can go to a “worse” job that will pay less but also will take less of my soul, I can become a stay at home mother. The sky is the limit.

At the moment, I am enjoying a two week break, trying to sort out the thoughts and ideas in my head, spend some time with the kids and organise the house. Trying to find myself, as I have been lost for a while now. And, with the proximity of the new year and the prospect of starting again (I know it’s an illusion, but I like it), I feel more hopeful and… well, just hopeful. Let the countdown begin!

Training to be happy

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Last month I went on a three day “master class” called Hyper Island. According to their website, it is an intensive learning experience that will challenge our way of thinking and perception on the influence and possibilities within digital media.

I’m very lucky that the company I work for invests in this type of training to their staff and I’m even luckier that I’ve been in the company long enough to have attended two Hyper Island master courses.

It is a very inspirational course and it does challenge our way of thinking, but most of all, it challenges our way of being. It encourages the “student” to want to change things – not only within work environment but also in their personal lives. It’s stating the obvious but big changes start from within.

I don’t remember this happening the first time around but I left the course a bit introspective and thinking what the hell I am doing with my life and where the hell I’m going with it.

Part of the “problem” was sorted by discovering that I am Vitamin D deficient (haha) but I am still digesting all the info and working on a “plan of action”. And by plan of action I mean trying to understand where I am and where I want to be.

The beat thing about this course, though, was to meet other members of our marketing team. I new we were a huge team but didn’t realise that we were 150 people! And such a bunch of great, funny, inspiring people.

Part of the course was to carry on a 21 day challenge, based on a Ted talk by Shawn Achor (search Shawn Achor “The happy secret to better work” if you want to know what I’m talking about). Every day, for 21 days, my little group of five has to send 3 things we are grateful for on that day + one random act of kindness. It’s been 15 days and most of us has been following the challenge. The idea is to help train our brain to be positive and be happy, which, in theory, will make us work better and be more productive.

Another exercise is journaling about a positive thing that happen on the day, which I might try here once the challenge is over. I must say that in the beginning I was struggling big time to fond positive things on my day, because I tend to think big and I was hoping to be able to share “I won the lottery today”, “my daughter got a medal at school”, “it’s 30C in Autumn now in the UK and I’m sunburned”. But the exercise made me see that these things are rare and I should look for the tiny beautiful positive things of my day, like my Beatrice, very poorly, still finding the energy to laugh, to sing and to tell stories. Feeling miserable, yet happy just to be around us and have fun with her family.

Six more days looking for grateful moments on my day. Bring them on.

At least I know what I DON’T want to do…

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I mentioned here a few times before (at least I think I did) how I would like to find a job (career?) that allows me to work less, spend more time at home – with the kids and also with myself – and leave a less stressful life. I could easily reduce my hours or work on something I don’t like but has flexible hours; the problem is that I don’t want to pay to go to work and this is what happens if I get a reduced hours job.

So I’m always looking around to see if there’s anything else I would like to do (and that I could do) that would bring a decent income as well as pleasure and not suck the life out of me.

On Wednesday, at the nursery, the lady asked me to wait in the room with Laura for the whole settling period (the idea was that I would stay for 30 minutes and then leave for the rest of the hour). It didn’t take long until I had at least 5 kids around me, asking me questions and bringing me books to read for them. Soon I had a pile of books to read and eager children interacting with the stories I was reading.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy having the kids around and asking all sort of questions; they were funny and cute (and polite, dare I say). But I left the place exhausted and with a strong headache that last for several hours (I had to take pain killers to be able to sleep). Also, telling stories make me sleepy, so I couldn’t stop yawning while reading the books. Not to mention that some of them were a bit boring – in my humble opinion – so I wasn’t really enthusiastic in my interpretation.

Speaking about “boring” books, one of them was about a family of elephants and the mother-elephant feeling upset because she thinks she is fat and as a result she puts the whole family on a rigid diet and exercise routine. I saw myself as mummy elephant, the paranoid mother that drives the whole family crazy!

Anyway, back to the subject of this post: I won’t definetly be applying for a job in a nursery (or study to become a childminder). Love kids, but can’t deal with more than 2 at the same time (you could argue I can’t even deal with two, since my eldest is going to the nursery 3 days a week).

The search for a new “career” continues…